Mac Mini Down

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ajohansson, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. ajohansson macrumors regular

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    Dec 5, 2011
    #1
    Late 2009 Mac Mini running el capitan.

    Last week wife says wont turn on. I unplug then plug back in and it starts but get to 3/4 of the start up bar and then shuts off. I fear its a hard drive failure. I have 2 mac minis both lat 2009 so I order 2 Electra 3G Solid state drives from OWC. Figure if one failed other sure to come and have been wanting to do this upgrade for awhile.

    A few years back i updated the mini with the failure to 8GB ram. I install the drive and do a boot from a USB stick and it almost gets done installing El Capitan and I get an error that says "cant extract essentials pkg". I go through all the google searches and find out that some machines dont like el captian if you have aftermarket RAM and if you put in original ram it will work and then you can put you aftermarket back in.

    So my other mini had original ram. I pop it in and sure enough I get it to work. I go to start transferring files of of my backblaze restore and then the mini starts to shut down. Now Im right back at the same problem where it wont boot and shuts off.

    The other mini that was working I made a clone of the HD, put it on the SSD, swaped it, put in new 8GB ram and its working fine.

    Question is, do you think perhaps it wasnt the hard drive that failed on my first mini? is it something else? I could never get it to do anything before after reseting all the stuff that is in the tutorials.

    Any insight on what you might think is wrong with it please let me know. I am thinking about just putting that original factory RAM (samsung) in and seeing if that stablizes the machine. Or maybe even cloning the hard drive from working computer and seeing if that will work.

    Any help appreciated.

    AJ
     
  2. Macinto$h macrumors newbie

    Macinto$h

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    #2
     
  3. Macinto$h macrumors newbie

    Macinto$h

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  4. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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  5. Macinto$h macrumors newbie

    Macinto$h

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  6. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    Got new battery. Did control cmd p r and still it tries to boot gets all the way through the status bar and then shuts down. I even put the factory RAM back in the machine. Im at a loss. Logic board maybe?
     
  7. Macinto$h macrumors newbie

    Macinto$h

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    #7
  8. California macrumors 68040

    California

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    #8
    You need to reinstall your OS. The installation bar comes up when there is some corruption in your software.
     
  9. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Thats part of the problem i cant get the OS to install again. At one point it worked the i went to upgrade over the internet to 11.1 and then it started having the same issue again. Put original ram back in and all same issue. I have tried from a usb stick and over the net same issues.

    It will try and load the OS then stops. There must be something wrong with another part of the computer. I cant wrong diagnostics unless the computer fires up right and actually runs the OS.

    Im at a loss. I purchased a used mac mini and will use it and send this to a shop i think at this point.
     
  10. California macrumors 68040

    California

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    #10
     
  11. California macrumors 68040

    California

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    #11
    Your 2009 Mac Mini shipped with Leopard and then Snow Leopard discs. You need to just reload the OS with a disc. (I have these discs, kept both versions because I owned a various number of 2009 Mac Minis) PM me maybe i can make you a copy. Or just buy a SL disc online.
     
  12. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #12
    Probably just a typo on the keys you used for PRAM reset ... but if not here is the correct procedure:


    1. Here's how to reset your PRAM:
      1. Shut down your machine. Yes, all the way down, not sleep or logging out.
      2. Press the power button and then press command-option-p-r. ...
      3. Hold those keys down until your Mac reboots again and you here the startup chime.
      4. Let go of the keys and let your Mac reboot normally.
     
  13. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
     
  14. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    ok so here is where i am at now. Im numbering the mac minis them help the confusion.

    The other mac mini (#1) is still working fine with the SSD and new ram.

    Mac mini #2 will take the SSD but acts strange. will reboot contsantly. with or without factory or non factory ram in all the slots or just 1. Have done all the SMC and PRAM resets.

    I purchase another 2009 mac mini (mini #3) on ebay thinking that there is something wrong with mini #2.

    Mac mini #3 works great right out of the box from ebay. I clone the drive to the SSD and I try and put the SSD in that mac and its doing the same thing! reboots over and over. Here is the kicker. If i put the regular mac mini drive that came with mini #3 in mini #2 it works fine! So here I thought something was wrong with mini #2 and its fine.

    So I am thinking there has to be something wrong with the SSD. I call and talk with OWC and the tech guy says I bet its your SATA cable. Im like really you think both mac mini # 2 and #3 have bad SATA cables? Why do they work with the regular HD and not with SSD. He says the data transfer speed is much quciker and this will expose a bad SATA cable. I call a local mac fix it place and they dont think so. They tell me take the SSD out of mac mini #1 which is working and see if it works in mac mini #2. I think ok that will tell me if that SATA is bad. Sure enough it just reboots over and over. So i think im on to something with the SATA cable. Next I take the supposedly bad SSD that I cant get to work in mac mini #2 or 3 and put it in mac mini #1 thinking I bet it fires right up. NOPE! it reboots over and over! Now this wasnt a clean install but still just so perplexing to me. So i got and put the "good" ssd back in mac mini #1 and its working fine.

    So do I have a bad SSD and do mac mini #2 and #3 have bad SATA cables? Has anyone experienced a problem with putting SSD in a older machine say 2009 and having a Sata cable unable to work with it? So weird that both Mac mini #2 and #3 work fine with regular old HD but neither will work with either SSD's I have boght.

    Any help appreciated.

    AJ
     
  15. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

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    #15
    Go to System Report, Hardware, Sata.

    What's the Link Speed and Negotiated Link Speed?
    It's possible the controller on the SSD is not compatible with the MM you have, but most likely it is a defective SSD drive.

    I would not even install it into a 3rd machine.
    If you can do a clean install on the SSD and see if the problem continues, and I suspect it will.
     
  16. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    On the mac mini thats working its 3g!! I cant even get to a report when install the drive computer wont stay on long enough just wants to reboot. Have done clean install too many times now i think the ssd needs to go back. Whats so weird though is the good ssd has the same issues in the other 2 mac minis but when i put it back in its original mini it works fine and they are identical computers and identical ssd.

    I want to think its the sata cable but nobody else seems to think that.
     
  17. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #17
    I think that you have the right idea, too.
    ** Try a different SATA cable.
     
  18. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    having the hardest time finding the part. Whats so weird though is if I put my supposedly bad ssd in the mac that has the good ssd it wont work either. So makes me start to doubt its the sata cable. Im so confused. may just run the regular hd for awhile. Im going to ask OWC to change out the SSD at least I can rule that part out.
     
  19. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #19
    Ah, I missed that you have a late 2009 mini :)
    You don't have any ribbon drive cables, the drive just plugs directly in to the interface board.
    I don't have information about the reliability of that board, might not have the same issues as a ribbon cable.
    If you have the optical drive, with single hard drive inside, then the part number for the board is 922-8807
    And, now I also see your challenge. That board is just not easy to find (not in stock most places.)
     
  20. ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20

    welll dont i feel like an idiot. turns out this whole thing was due to a bad ram stick. live and learn. thank you to everyone who chimed in. OWC are lifetime and mailing me a new set. I could have swore i moved them around but did it one more time keeping track and sure enough a bad ram stick. There is something wrong though with the drive that was in the machine that had the bad stick. I ran it through disk utility and it tried to repair it but says it cant and to back up the data. I have back blaze and already have it all. Just so weird that the drive and ram take a dive at the same time? could the bad ram screw up the drive?
     
  21. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #21
    Ah, back in post #6, you said you reinstalled the original RAM. How did you miss that at that time?
     
  22. ajohansson, Dec 4, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015

    ajohansson thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    I have asked myself that too. Here is what I think was happening. I was using my USB stick to do the initial OSX install in the mac mini. The install would work but acted so weird with the bad ram. I would put the OG ram in and it would and that start having issues. So im trying to do the install on the drive with the bad ram in the machine which was corrupting the install im thinking. I put OG ram it works for a bit and then back with problems. What I wasnt attempting was wiping it and booting with OSX USB install with the factory ram and trying it. I was just slapping the ram in post install and said oh well its not working.

    At one point the computers all worked with original hard drives but I think at that point I had the OWC memory out and wasnt keeping track of that. I put the 8 gig owc in and it failed. then I put both factory in and it worked. I figured out swapping memory around that it was a bad stick.

    In the end I put the SSD in my enclosure and hooked it to my Macbook Pro. I used the USB stick and did a fresh install in the drive. Put it back in the machine with one factory and one OWC and it worked fine.

    So from now on when I do a fresh OSX install I am going to use a working computer and the new HD in an enclosure to do it. Then I know the install worked fine and there was nothing to screw it up. Any screw up from there has to be something in the computer.

    moral of the story do your osx clean install from a working computer.
     
  23. George Dawes macrumors 6502

    George Dawes

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    #23
    My 2011's video card went kaput - its another known issue..thought it was an el crapitan issue

    Beware

    It's the AMD discrete and a solder problem...
     

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